- Written by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
When a woman is in labour, the least of her worries should be money but not for Mercy Ndinda, who admits that she acted more of an accountant while giving birth rather than a woman experiencing labour pains.
Giving birth in Kenya is no small fete, maternity bills can go as high as Sh200000 depending on the hospital and the nature of the birth and even if the government waived all maternity fees back in 2013, many women are still turning to private hospital despite the expense. This has led to insurance companies to offer maternity covers as one way of easing the expenses of child birth.
“I had to ensure that nothing went out of my budget of Sh18000,” Ndinda said. “ If the nurse asked if I wanted an extra pillow, to ease my back pain, the first thing I would ask was if there was going to be an extra charge and if so, there was no need for it, I could bear the pain.”
The bad state of public hospitals and the frequent strikes has left many women looking for a better option in private hospitals.
“In public hospitals, you have to share your bed with two or three other women, the staff is rude and the facilities limited,” said Ndinda. “So when I learnt that I was pregnant, I started saving so as to ensure I gave birth at a hospital of my choice.”
One insurance cover that is available for many working women is the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). The medical cover, which was revamped mid this year by the government, covers general consultations with doctors, laboratory tests, drugs, x-ray and ultrasound diagnosis, family planning, antenatal and post natal care, maternity and caesarean section in government hospitals, mission hospitals and some private hospitals. Patients also get to choose the hospital they would like to give birth in be it; government or private (one which accepts NHIF cards).
And unlike other insurance policies which have a 10 month waiting period, NHIF has only a three month waiting period which means one can apply if they are already pregnant and will still get to enjoy the services.
Other insurance companies such as resolution health, have maternity covers with a ten month waiting period meaning you should not be pregnant when you apply for it but if you are and apply for it, the insurance will cover the costs of the prenatal visits but not the delivery.
If one undergoes the ten month period, it will cover for both the baby and mother during the pregnancy, birth and any complications that may arise after birth but once the child and mother are discharged from the hospital, the insurance will not cover the expenses the baby will incur medically.
They have three covers; one for Sh250000, Sh150000 and another for Sh100,000 for inpatient and outpatient.